This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.afp.al
By Eduard Zaloshnja
Finally, the Democratic Party has finalized its analysis on the June 2017 elections. At the beginning of the week, this party published the report of the work group which analyzed the DP’s dramatic shrinking in those elections. But, the report did not rely on some detailed post electoral opinion poll. Such opinion polls help parties on looking into the reasons which may have pushed voters to vote on such or such party or pushed them not to vote at all.*
Based on the reasons provided by the heads of the 53 DP branches all over the country, in 90% of rural areas, the poor results has been affected by the purchase of the vote with dirty money or the use of the administration to threaten people that they would have their social allowance lifted or by using other means of pressure.
Meanwhile, according to the DP’s report, in urban centers the result has also been affected by other factors, including internal factors.
According to the report, some of the former MPs indirectly jeopardized the election campaign in the constituencies where they had been previously elected, by telling democrats not to vote. This was mainly noticed in the district of Shkodra or Vlora, but also in other districts of the country.
The report further stresses that the list of candidates that holds the signature of Lulzim Basha, has led to a big problem, causing not only discontent among voters, but also further problems concerning the functioning of the party’s structures.
According to the analysis, the agreement reached on 18 May between Basha and Rama, which led to the Democratic Party to remove the tent of the protest and decide to enter the elections, has also had an impact on the elections. The long period of time that the Democratic Party spent in the tent found the party’s structures unprepared for the electoral process, therefore the delays played a role in the weak result of 25 June 2017.
A statistical analysis of the defeat
As I stressed at the beginning of this article, the DP’s analysis was not based on a detailed post electoral opinion poll, which should have acted as the basis for a rigorous statistical analysis with concrete figures. However, in the absence of this opinion poll, we could perform a statistical analysis based on the results of 5363 polling stations nationwide.
Based on a macro analysis of these stations, DP+RP(Republican Party) have suffered a drastic fall. Together, they received 200 thousand votes less than 4 years ago along with the other right wing parties which were part of the DP lists. Meanwhile, turnout in the elections went down by 150 thousand. So, on a macro level, the poor result of the Democratic Party is not entirely explained by the drop in turnout.
In fact, on a micro level, we could find individual cases where a neighborhood, a village, a former commune or a municipality, has registered a different electoral behavior from the one registered on a national level. So, for instance, in the municipality of Kamza, the Democratic Party’s votes did not see any changes to previous elections, but in the former commune of Krraba, in 2013, 90% of the votes were won by the Socialist Movement for Integration, while in 2017, 70% of votes were won by the Socialist Party.
By having a database with figures on the 5363 polling stations, we are able to conduct a statistical analysis on a micro level.
Thus, in 2400 polling stations (almost all urban centers), it is clear that the drop in the number of votes received by DP+RP is directly linked to the fall in turnout (there’s a strong statistical correlation between them). Thus, the drop in the number of votes obtained by DP+RP in these 2400 polling stations was 110 thousand votes, while the drop in turnout was 120 thousand voters.
Even in 992 other polling stations, there exists a correlation between the drop in the number of votes received by DP+RP and the drop in turnout. However, this correlation is weaker in urban areas. The majority of these 992 polling stations are in sub-urban areas (villages around cities). In these sub-urban centers, we had a drop of 30 thousand votes for DP+RP, while the drop in turnout was 20 thousand votes.
In the 1971 remaining polling stations (all of them in rural areas), the drop in the number of votes received by right wing parties (compared to 2013) was similar to the increase in the number of votes received by SP and/or SMI and/or PDIU and/or PSD.
Let us provide an example (a random example in remote villages). In the village of Ujemire, Kalaja e Dodes, the number of people who voted 4 years ago was 149. Meanwhile, on 25 June, their number was 146. So, the number of voters only changed by 3. Meanwhile, for the Democratic Party, the drop was big. From 109 votes it received in 2013, in 2017 it went down to 67. Where did its votes go? To PDIU, SMI and SP.
There are 1970 cases of rural polling stations similar to the one in Ujemire, where the number of participants has not changed, but the votes went from DP+RP, to SP and/or SMI and/or PDIU and/or PSD. In these rural polling stations, the number of votes received by DP+RP fell by 50 thousand, while the fall in turnout was practically zero.
To summarize, it can be said that the drop in the number of votes received by the right wing has had two main causes. In urban and sub-urban areas, the cause of a drop of around 150 thousand votes relates to the low turnout of right wing voters in the elections. Meanwhile, in rural areas, the drop by 50 thousand votes mainly relates to the transfer of right wing votes to the SP and/or SMI and/or ODIU and/or PSD.
The reasons for these two types of falls in the number of the votes received by the right wing, should have been analyzed through a rigorous post-election opinion poll and not analyses made in meetings with all 53 branches of the DP.
*Example of a post-electoral opinion poll: An opinion poll held after the latest presidential elections in the US, showed that 7% of those who had voted Obama did not vote in 2016, while 9% voted Trump. The first group mainly consisted of black voters, while the second one consisted of white voters.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy